View Journal Article: Co-Extrusion of Biocompatible Polymers for Scaffolds With Co- Continuous Morphology
Washburn, N. R., Simon, C. G. Jr., Tona, Alex, Elgendy, Hoda, Karim, Alamgir and Amis, Eric (2006). Co-Extrusion of Biocompatible Polymers for Scaffolds With Co- Continuous Morphology. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research60 (1). 20-29.
A methodology for the preparation of porous scaffolds for tissue engineering using co-extrusion is presented. Poly(espilon-caprolactone) is blended with poly(ethylene oxide) in a
twin-screw extruder to form a two-phase material with micron-sized domains. Selective dissolution of the poly(ethylene oxide) with water results in a porous material. A range of blend volume
fractions results in co-continuous networks of polymer and void spaces. Annealing studies demonstrate that the characteristic pore size may be increased to larger than 100 microns. The mechanical
properties of the scaffolds are characterized by a compressive modulus on the order of 1 MPa at low strains but displaying a marked strain-dependence. The results of osteoblast seeding suggest it
is possible to use co-extrusion to prepare polymer scaffolds without the introduction of toxic contaminants. Polymer co-extrusion is amenable to both laboratory- and industrial-scale production of
scaffolds for tissue engineering and only requires rheological characterization of the blend components. This method leads to scaffolds that have continuous void space and controlled characteristic
length scales without the use of potentially toxic organic solvents.